Tiananmen leader denied in bid to return to China

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Associated Press

Posted on November 25, 2013 at 9:03 AM

Updated Monday, Nov 25 at 9:03 AM

HONG KONG (AP) — The second most-wanted student leader from the 1989 Tiananmen Square pro-democracy protests was turned back from Hong Kong on Monday in his latest attempt to surrender to Chinese authorities and return home.

It was the fourth such attempt by Wu'er Kaixi, who said his lack of success so far was the result of "absurd" actions by the Chinese government. Wu'er, who has lived in exile for more than two decades, is stuck in a situation in which he's both wanted for arrest and, like many other dissidents who have fled, prevented from returning to China.

Wu'er confirmed in a text message that he was being sent back to Taiwan. He had tried to turn himself in to authorities in Hong Kong as his flight from Taipei, Taiwan, transited through the semiautonomous Chinese city on Monday on the way to Bangkok. He wanted officials in Hong Kong to extradite him to mainland China.

Wu'er was accompanied by Hong Kong pro-democracy legislator Albert Ho, who also assisted Edward Snowden as the National Security Agency contractor tried to clarify his legal situation while hiding out in Hong Kong in June.

Wu'er said in a blog post that he wants to go back to China to see his ailing parents and other family members, whom he hasn't seen since he fled into exile 24 years ago. His parents have also been denied permission to visit him.

"What I'm doing today is a result of the Chinese government's absurd act of ordering my arrest, while at the same time refusing to allow me to return," he wrote. He added that he wants to be reunited with his relatives "even if the reunion would have to take place behind a glass wall."

In 2009, he was denied entry to Macau, which, like nearby Hong Kong, is a specially administered Chinese region.

Last year, he tried to turn himself into the Chinese Embassy in Washington. In 2010, he was arrested when he tried to enter the Chinese Embassy in Tokyo.

Wu'er rose to fame as a pajama-clad hunger striker haranguing then-Chinese Premier Li Peng during a televised meeting during the Tiananmen protests in Beijing.

He was named No. 2 on the Chinese government's list of 21 wanted student leaders after the military crushed the protests, killing at least hundreds. He has lived in exile in the United States and the self-ruled island of Taiwan since fleeing China.

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Associated Press writer Peter Enav in Taipei, Taiwan, contributed to this report.

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